Jaswinder Lally 'angle' in Dealer's Choice event serves as 'protect your hand' reminder

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: June 04, 2022 16:19 PDT

An unusual hand in Event #4 of the 2022 WSOP, $1,500 Dealer's Choice, stands out as a reminder that even very skilled players can make the occasional mistake, and especially in complex formats, players should never release what they believe is a losing hand into the muck until the winning hand is shown and verified. The hand involved last year's winner in the same event, Jaswinder Lally, in a deuce-to-seven triple-draw hand against another solid pro and former bracelet winner, Joseph Couden.

Here's how PokerNews reported the hand, and the reporting by all accounts, was accurate:

2-7 Triple Draw

Joseph Couden raised pre-draw and Jaswinder Lally three-bet out of the blinds. Before Couden could act, Lally tapped the table, signifying he was standing pat.

"I haven't acted on my hand yet," said Couden.

"Sorry, I was already standing pat," replied Lally.

Couden then decided to put in the fourth bet and Lally called.

Lally indeed stood pat, and so did Couden. Lally check-called a bet from Couden and both players stood pat on the second draw.

Both players checked and then stood pat again. On the final round of betting, Lally bet and Couden called.

"Eighty-six," said Lally. Couden tossed his cards into the muck before Lally opened {4-}{4-}{8-}{6-}{2-}.

"You had four-four," said a tablemate as the pot was pushed to Lally. Couden indicated that Lally's verbal announcement caused him to muck the winning hand, but with Couden's hand irretrievable Lally was awarded the pot.

The pot was awarded to Lally based on the ages-old poker rule that once Couden's hand was mucked, it couldn't be retrieved. And there's no evidence that Lally intentionally or deliberately misstated his hand, and while it's possible that he did, the fact that he stayed pat on all three draws argues that he probably did believe he had an 8-6. It doesn't appear from the reporting that either Couden or the dealer called the floor to discuss the situation; it was just generally agreed that Couden did muck, and unintentional or not, the pot had to be shipped Lally's way.

However, there are exceptions to the mucked-hand rule, and one of them could possibly have applied here, had the floor been called. Enter Daniel Zack, who himself has won a triple-draw bracelet. Zack knew the WSOP rulebook better than most, and he posted this earlier today:

Zack is correct. Rule #69 in the 2022 WSOP rulebook clearly outlines an exception wherein the pot can be awarded to the losing player if the winning player overstated his hand, although it has to be deemed to have been done intentionally. The rule reads as follows:

"69. Declarations: Cards speak to determine the winner. Verbal declarations of hand value are not binding at showdown. However, deliberately miscalling a hand may be penalized. Any Participant, in the hand or not, should speak up if he or she thinks a mistake is being made in the reading of hands. However, at Host Properties’ discretion, any Participant deliberately miscalling his or her hand will be subject to penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 113, and 114."

The other rules referred to describe the various penalties that can be assessed, including awarding the pot to the other player, assessing penalties -- typically hands or laps away from the table for the transgressor -- and even disqualification of the offending player in extreme circumstances.

Lally was already on a big stack at the time the hand played out on the event's second day. He fell just short of repeating his 2021 victory, however, finishing as the runner-up to Brad Ruben, who won his fourth bracelet in the past three WSOP series. And for Couden, and hopefully for many others as well, it was a lesson learned.

Featured image source (Jaswinder Lally): Haley Hintze